Never a doubt.
For one night, at least, the Caps found the balanced scoring for which they've been searching of late, as each of the four forward lines chipped in a goal and the team held on for a 4-3 win. Oh, and that win vaulted the Caps into first place in the Southeast Division. A few quick thoughts on the game:
- Just after I remarked about how nice it was to see the team able to score a few goals without Alex Ovechkin having a hand in any of them, he scored the eventual game-winner, his League-leading eighth GWG of the year. His 46 goals equal his total from last year as his ridiculous season gets even more absurd by the night.
- Further kudos to Ovechkin for goading Jim Vandermeer into taking a coincidental penalty with him (a tradeoff the Caps will take any time), as the extra space created by the four-on-four allowed Brooks Laich to show off his skill and deposit the first goal of the game on a beautiful backhander. Heh.
- Mike Green was a stud, registering two helper, a plus-two rating, three shots on goal, a pair of blocked shots and a takeaway.
- The Philadelphia Flyers only committed two penalties on the night. Okay.
- I didn't particularly care for how the Caps D allowed two homerun passes to connect while trying to defend a three-goal lead in the third period.
- Did the Caps get lucky on the no-goal that was reviewed? Yes (in fact, some had already marked it down as a goal). But they were due a break after that phantom Quintin Laing interference call led to Philly's first goal.
- Five games and counting without a power play goal.
- Viktor Kozlov had another strong game (everywhere but in the faceoff circle).
- There's a lot to like in Eric Fehr's game, and it's not far from all coming together.
- Tomas Fleischmann may or may not stink (and I'm pretty sure I'm comfortable letting another team figure out whether or not he does), but his tap pass on the Kozlov goal was money.
- John Erskine has significant issues with successfully clearing the puck.
- Boyd Gordon's unselfish decision not to throw the puck at the empty net while he was on the wrong side of the center stripe deserves mention, so there it is. Mentioned.
- Braydon Coburn led Philly in ice time (and was a team-worst minus-three, along with the pylon that is Derian Hatcher). His off night aside, I wonder how Atlanta's liking that Alexei Zhitnik trade now.
- Olie Kolzig was very solid when not hung out to dry (and was I the only one hoping he'd take a shot at the empty net on Ron Hextall Night?). Hopefully these last two games are a start to his resurgence - we'll likely get to find out on Friday night.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Happy 40th Birthday to Peter Bondra, the Caps all-time leader in goals (472) and points (825). Enjoy those marks while you can, Bonzai.... For some reason I feel like thanking Glen Hanlon again for guiding this team through the bad times. I'm not sure they'd be where they are today without the culture he helped create in his time behind the bench.
- Hart: Mathieu Garon (W, 40 saves on 41 shots against)
- Ross: Mike Green, Mike Knuble, John Madden, Sam Gagner, Joni Pitkanen, Brett Clark (2 points each)
- Norris: Mike Green (2A, +2, 3 SOG, 2 BkS)
- Vezina: Mathieu Garon (W, 40 saves on 41 shots against)
- Richard: 20 players tied with 1G apiece
- Calder: Sam Gagner (2A)
- Aiken: Derian Hatcher (0 points, -3)